Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Not "clarity" yet, but clarification about our jobs.

Petunia's job is feng shui.

I've always seen this. Her gift with people and with spaces has always been her ability to energize nooks and crannies, sweeping dead energy aside, animating the faces of people who might otherwise feel ignored. She is joy.

During our unhealthiness, this energy has become misdirected or diffused, she is sweeping across spaces to reinforce barriers between herself and Buddy; she is uncomfortable with dogs entering her personal space and with areas she perceives as her space. My work with Petunia is to help her recognize her true work, which is actually more complex and interesting than her perceived work.

Buddy's job is compassion.

This, too, I've always seen but hadn't quite articulated to myself. Buddy knows this is his job, too, but during our troubled times he began to misinterpret his role as physical protection rather than compassion.

When I first encountered Buddy he was a neighborhood stray that didn't look like a stray. As Petunia and I would walk through the neighborhood day after day we would see him poised in a neighbor's yard, not as a guard dog but more of a guardian angel, an avatar of tranquility. He was peaceful and elegant. Observant but not suspicious. He moved from house to house but we only knew that because we would see him sitting peacefully in one yard or another. In each place he seemed to belong, to be in the right place.

My narrative for him now is that Buddy was bringing compassion to each place and to those who lived there. Compassion is the name for the connection I felt with him from our very first contact, and it is the name for the way he helped me through the separation and divorce. Petunia was empathy, but Buddy was compassion.

So my work with Buddy is to help him do his true work as well.

Clarifying these jobs in my own heart and mind is helping me relate to the dogs differently this morning.

Let's face it, all attentive dog owners tell stories to themselves about their dogs: who they are and what they do. If I'm weaving an elaborate metaphysical narrative so be it. If I know any truth at all about my situation it's that the dogs need clarity from me; they need a clear message from me about who does what in our home and in the spaces beyond it as well.


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